Part II: What is NYPA anyway?
By Frank Parlato Jr.
18 April, 2006
The New York State Legislature created “The Power Authority of the State of New York” in 1931 to provide (don’t laugh) “low-cost electricity to the people of New York State.”
NYPA, a not for profit corporation, whose board of directors are appointed by Albany, is the largest state-owned public power organization in the US. It operates 17 generating facilities, the most lucrative being the Niagara Power Plant.
NYPA sells its power to private utilities for resale, to government, and to neighboring states.
In a crazy twist of fate, however, NYPA sells none of its Niagara generated power to Niagara area residents.
Being a non-profit, “public benefit” corporation, NYPA is not allowed to disburse profits to stockholders. Therefore, NYPA’s enormous profits must be either utilized in high salaries, and the creation of more Albany directed (patronage) positions, and/or studies given to political donors, or, in the alternative, given back to the people in the form of lower electric rates.
Guess which they chose.
The people here, however, are apathetic about their power. Nobody is even talking about whether or not to renew NYPA’s license. The only question asked-- by so-called leaders-- is – “what’s in it for me?”
“How many crumbs can we get from NYPA?”
Nobody talks about lower rates for the people.
They talk about, “can we get two million or ten million for our pet projects?”
Compared to what the actual financial value of Niagara power is, two million is two cents and ten million is ten cents.
Even to the dull of comprehension – such as many of those who reside here – I shall make my point crystal clear: The people should take their hydro- power back.
Approval or non- approval of another 50 year license for NYPA comes from either The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) or by Congress.
Without public consensus, the commission will have to defer to Congress. In other words, if people complain, the re- license will not be granted without an act of Congress.
NYPA wants to avoid this. Since if enough people complained, Congress might give the power back to the region.